Tag: Advertising

Menstruation in the 1990s: Feminist Resistance in Saskia’s Heavy Flow Zine

Among the many treasures in the archives of Glasgow Women’s Library, the six issues of the 1990s menstruation-themed zine Heavy Flow is a special gem. The series was created by artist and writer Saskia between 1993 and 1995 and provides unique insight into the discourse surrounding menstruation at the time. Saskia, who has proven difficult… Read more →

Are Our Genes Really Our Fate? DNA’s Visual Culture and the Construction of Genetic Truth

The direct-to-consumer genetic testing company 23andme has recently been described by journalist Erika Check Hayden as a “unicorn.”1 For Hayden, this Silicon Valley idiom describes the company’s one billion dollar valuation while also capturing the rare opportunity it affords to scientists: its two million customers make up the largest available pool of gene-linked health data.2… Read more →

Eggsploitation Cracked Open

“What’s a few eggs between friends?” Many egg donation advertisements, like the examples here, suggest that it’s nothing at all! However, although the egg donation process is often advertised as simple and pleasant, it is usually the opposite. Advertisements selectively exclude the potential risks of the procedure and instead make the whole process seem appealing…. Read more →

“I Would Just Want To Fly”: Lydia Pinkham, Women’s Medicine, and Social Networks

“I had been completely run-down. I would try to do my housework and could not. I would want to just fly, if only I could. I would lie down but wasn’t satisfied there and would have to get up and do whatever I could to content myself.” So wrote Mrs. Dora Sanders of 112 West… Read more →

The Skinny on Back to School

Well, it’s that time of year again! The temperatures are dropping, the days are shortening, the leaves are beginning to turn, and the calendar is indicating that backpacks, pens and pencils, and school projects will become part of daily routines. For some of us, there also might be trips to the retailers (or clicks online) to shop… Read more →

Marketing Domesticity

By Rachel Epp Buller

One of the recurring themes in my “Women and Gender in Art History” class this semester has been the historical association of women with the domestic sphere. In the nineteenth century, we looked at examples of European art that addressed this clear cultural separation of spheres, where public = masculine and private = feminine. Of course, this cultural association of women with domesticity persisted throughout much of the twentieth century (think June Cleaver) and was cleverly marketed to women through seemingly endless inventions of domestic appliances and ever-better cleaning products.

By the 1970s, American feminist artists and writers began taking on the gendering of domesticity. Building on Betty Friedan’s arguments in The Feminine Mystique (1963), writers like Pat Mainardi critiqued the cultural assumptions that made cleaning a gendered imperative. In “The Politics of Housework” (1970), Mainardi examined the excuses used by her husband to avoid sharing the burden of household chores:

No Green Beans for You

By Carolyn Herbst Lewis

One of my escapes is reading Good Housekeeping. When it arrives in my mailbox, I usually take that afternoon “off,” and spend it on my porch swing, sipping coffee or wine as I page through it. Mostly, I read it and find the pleasure in all of the things that I am not going to worry about. The best recipe for mu shu shrimp? There is no way my picky son will put that anywhere near his mouth, so I’m not going to cook it. How to make the craftiest seating cards for a dinner party? Not gonna do it because my dinner parties are self-serve buffets. How to reorganize your closet so that it is color-coded? Not practical in my tiny hole in the wall. Lose five pounds by doing sit-ups before you get out of bed in the morning? I’d rather just hit the snooze button. It’s not that I find this information or these suggestions laughable or useless or anything like that. I do not mean to sound condescending or snobby about it. I love Good Housekeeping. It’s just that most of its contents don’t really have anything to do with the kind of household that my husband and I maintain. And yet I faithfully read it. Why? Because every so often there is something that works for me. [Like the suggestion to use a cup to amplify the music from my iPhone (March 2013, p. 29). I’ve been walking around with my iPhone in a coffee mug for the last four weeks. It’s brilliant.] And I really do find comfort in the feeling of being free from having to do any of the things that the GH articles suggest that I do to make my home, myself, or my family happier, healthier, or prettier.

See Sally Menstruate

It may come as no surprise that a few of us here at Nursing Clio are big, crazy Mad Men fans (see here). Although I had my early reservations about how the show portrayed women during its first season, I have eventually grown to love the way Matthew Weiner has developed interesting, complex, and strong… Read more →

Domestic Violence Sells?

The media’s sexual objectification of women has come under increasing scrutiny, as well it should. But what about advertisements promoting consumer goods through domestic violence? Roughly every 9 seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten. And we ask how can this be changed? Many professionals and women’s rights advocates have written on the subject to address the multifaceted problem of intimate partner violence (IPV), and the issue is complex with social, legal, political, and cultural, and factors. There is no quick fix. But, here’s an easy one to start with: maybe, just maybe, companies shouldn’t capitalize on ads advocating violence against women. The media is a powerful means of disseminating cultural values and ideas. Advertisements using domestic violence have long been used, which fuels social messages that essentially condone violence against women. It’s time to break the cycle.